Richard Yates – Statement About Artworks
My works over the past 20 years derive from visits to remote or unusual locations. Most often on the prairies, I find a place where something of an unusual event had historically or metaphysically taken place which gives me a sense that there had been about that place multiple aesthetic, or even spiritual, decisions made there. I can build later in memory on this place and examine or visually speculate and so generate visual images. Sometimes my nighttime dream symbolic images may augment and broaden the process. My “pond”, bird/flying dream, farm field pattern markings images all come from vision quest-like discover trips in nature somewhat akin to a hunting trip. If the intent is right and animal will present itself to the hunter sometimes as an offering. One of the most unusual events to be “placed inmy path” was of learning of and locating a group of 11 circles of a “crop circle” formation and reflecting on this event in a print. Often the sourcing, or building the foundation of the artwork in nature, or place, can be something of a revelation. Other sources I have visited are native prairie medicine wheel sites, megalithic standing stone sites in Europe like Avebury, Stonehenge, those on Malta, and at Carnac. All are powerful “organic” earth sites significantly placed and aesthetically rich and, interestingly, seem to be meant to be seen from above. Thus, many of my works have sense of a “birds-eye view”. Or that of a “flying dream”: powerful senses of faith, intent and unity --- all seeing. Interestingly, some of the art of the Russian Revolution in the constructivist and later suprematist movements had a similar “birds eye” view reflecting a group of ideal or utopia which was unfortunately undermined by ruthless power politics. I think this ideal utopia --- a mixture of spiritual question, ideal aesthetics, earth/nature appreciation is reflected in some of my artworks.
I also enjoy loading and compressing the composition. Somewhat like squeezing and folding the image into the rectangle format, as if the rectangle format were pregnant and near to term.
Some of my summer 2001 images are small Italian hilltop town views of colorful imaginary landscapes in oil on small panels. As of 2012/13 I painted small intimate and colourful images of imaginary pond fish and fish, odd cats and dogs in a light hearted way. Plus some landscapes from memory.